These days, there are two things we’re all doing a lot: shopping online and looking for ways to save money. One way to do both at once is to sign up for RebatesMe. By shopping through this online shopping portal, you can earn cash back at your favorite stores.
When you shop at RebatesMe partner sites, the retailers give RebatesMe a referral fee for steering your business to them. The company then splits that bonus with you. It makes money, and you save money on everything you buy.
Of course, RebatesMe isn’t the only cash-back shopping site on the web. How it stacks up to competitors like Rakuten and Swagbucks depends on how and where you shop.
Key Features of RebatesMe
RebatesMe is free to use, and signing up is easy. You can provide your email address and create a password or sign in with Google or Facebook. Within a couple of minutes, you gain access to all these benefits.
Cash-Back Rewards via the Web
The primary perk of RebatesMe is the ability to earn cash back. The website promises up to 40% cash back on anything you buy via RebatesMe, but that amount isn’t typical. Most offers are between 3% and 12%.
One way to earn rewards is to visit a retailer through the RebatesMe site. Go to the website, search for your store, and click through. The site displays a pop-up confirmation telling you how much cash you will earn. Then shop as usual.
The rewards you earn go into your RebatesMe account. When your account balance reaches at least $10, you can cash out your rewards via PayPal, credit card, gift card, or even an old-fashioned paper check.
To give you a chance to try it before you commit, you don’t have to reach the $10 minimum to earn your very first payment. You can cash out with as little as $0.01 in your account. However, for all subsequent cash-outs, you must have at least $10 in earned rewards.
Cash-Back Rewards via the Browser Extension
Visiting the RebatesMe website every time you wanted to shop would be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, there’s an easier way: Install a browser extension called the Cash Back Button.
Whenever you visit a retailer that offers RebatesMe rewards, the Cash Back Button pops up an alert with a link. All you have to do is click it to activate your cash-back rewards.
Versions of the Cash Back Button are available for the Chrome, Edge, and Safari browsers. The Firefox version of the site says a version for that browser is coming soon.
Cash-Back Rewards via the Mobile App
Your browser isn’t the most convenient way to shop on a mobile device. Fortunately, there’s also a RebatesMe mobile app available for iOS or Android. It’s just like the RebatesMe shopping portal but in a more mobile-friendly form.
Retail shopping isn’t the only way to earn cash back with RebatesMe. The shopping portal also offers deals on travel expenses like airfare, hotels, and rental cars. You can get between 3% and 6% cash back at popular sites like Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, and VRBO.
However, you don’t get your rewards from travel purchases right away. Cash back posts to your account within three months after you’ve completed your travel.
Along with earning you cash back, RebatesMe can help you find coupon codes that save you money upfront. For some retailers, such as Amazon and Target, coupons are the only kind of savings the site provides.
RebatesMe offers new members a $30 sign-up bonus. However, you don’t earn this bonus right away. To get the bonus, you must make enough qualifying purchases to earn $10 cash back within the first year after you sign up.
This sign-up bonus does not count toward the $10 minimum for claiming your rewards. You must earn $10 in cash back to do that. But once you do, you can add the $30 bonus to the amount you cash out.
Another way to earn bonuses on RebatesMe is to refer your friends to the site. Each time a friend joins using your unique referral link, you qualify for a $10 bonus.
Like the sign-up bonus, this bonus doesn’t kick in right away. First, your friend must earn at least $10 in cash back on qualifying purchases within the first year after signing up. At that point, the referral bonus goes into your RebatesMe account.
Referral bonuses also do not count toward your $10 cash-out minimum. So you can’t sign up friends one after another and immediately cash out $10 each time. But you can add the bonus money to your cash-out sum when you’re ready to claim it.
Advantages of RebatesMe
RebatesMe is a legitimate way to earn cash back when shopping online. Its biggest advantages include:
- Number of Retail Partners. RebatesMe works with over 3,000 online shopping sites. Its partners span many categories, such as clothing, electronics, health, sporting goods, and travel. They include top retailers like Macy’s, Sephora, and Overstock.
- Cash-Back Rates. Rewards on RebatesMe vary by site. They’re typically between 3% and 12%, with some sites offering as much as 40%. That’s better than you can do at many (though not all) competing sites.
- Speed of Earnings. Rewards you earn go into your RebatesMe account within one week. You can cash them out at any point after your balance reaches $10.
- Payout Options. RebatesMe offers more options for getting paid than most competing sites. You can choose a prepaid credit card, gift card, PayPal, or check. Payments arrive within two days via PayPal and one week by card but can take up to 30 days by check.
- Ratings. Reviews on Trustpilot give RebatesMe an overall rating of 4.0 stars out of 5, and 70% of users rate it as excellent. The site also earns an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, reviews from users there are a little below 4 stars.
Disadvantages of RebatesMe
Although it’s possible to earn significant rewards with RebatesMe, it isn’t always easy. Problems with the service include:
- Technical Requirements. RebatesMe only works under certain conditions. First, you must have cookies enabled in your browser. You must click through to a retail site from the RebatesMe shopping portal or the Cash Back Button, and your cart must be empty when you do so. If you close the store’s website while shopping, you can’t just reopen it. You must repeat the entire process.
- Inability to Combine Deals. You can’t combine RebatesMe rewards with any other coupon code or offer. In fact, the extension may not work at all if you have any other shopping extension installed. RebatesMe recommends removing them all to make sure you get your rewards.
- Glitchy Performance. Even when you have no other extensions installed, the Cash Back Button isn’t always reliable. It pops up on some retail sites but not others. With those sites, the only way to be sure you’re getting your rebates is to click through from the RebatesMe site.
- Risk of Spam. When you sign up for RebatesMe, you agree to receive commercial mail and email from the company and its partners. You can opt out of having your email and mailing address shared by contacting service@RebatesMe.com.
- Maintenance Fee. If you don’t earn any cash back for a year, RebatesMe starts deducting a maintenance fee of $1.99 per month from your account. That continues until you reactivate your account by earning more rebates or your rewards are gone.
- Compatibility. If you use Firefox as your primary browser, you can’t install the RebatesMe Cash Back Button. To earn rewards, you must either click through from the RebatesMe website or use the mobile app.
How RebatesMe Stacks Up
RebatesMe is stronger than the competition in some areas and weaker in others. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of RebatesMe and another leading cash-back site, Rakuten:
|Number of Retail Partners||More than 4,000||More than 3,500|
|Typical Cash Back Rate||3% to 12%||1% to 6%|
|Payment Options||Prepaid credit card, gift card, PayPal, or check||Check or PayPal|
|Payment Times||After balance reaches $10||Every 3 months|
|Sign-up Bonus||$30 after earning $10||$10 after spending $25|
|Referral Bonus||$10||$30 for you, $30 for a friend|
|Inactive Account Fee||$1.99 per month||$2 per month|
|Browser Extension||Chrome, Edge, or Safari||Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari|
|Additional Features||Coupon codes||Coupon codes, in-store cash back|
RebatesMe can save you more money on your online purchases than most competitors, including Rakuten. However, it’s not as flexible. It doesn’t work with all browsers, and it doesn’t have quite as many retail partners. Plus, it can’t save you money on in-store purchases.
Moreover, RebatesMe can be finicky and fiddly to use. You have to follow its rules exactly to make sure you get your rebates. The Cash Back Button is unreliable. And if you try to install other money-saving browser extensions and shop around for the best cash back deal, RebatesMe may not work at all.
If you just want the browser extension that earns you the most cash back online, RebatesMe is a good bet — provided you can live with its limitations. But if you want to save in as many ways as possible, consider apps with more features, such as Honey and Capital One Shopping.